Do you have an eating habit that you would love to change? May be you are not sure where or how to start. Perhaps you have tried to change your eating habits before, but are now ready for a forever solution. The Eating for You approach offers that solution by getting you to focus on the right thing.
Photo by Felipe Portella on Unsplash
Eating habits develop throughout our lifetime. They are the food choices that happen on auto-pilot.
Eating habits have two main layers:
- The external layer is the “what” and “how” of eating. At this level you see the types and amounts of food that you eat. You can also observe how you eat. For example, you might eat alone, with others, standing, sitting or in front of the TV and you may also notice the speed at which you eat.
- The internal layer is the “why” of eating. Eating for You refers to your motivations (your “whys”) for eating, as drivers for eating. Drivers include physical hunger, health goals and soothing emotions. Eating for you explores nine drivers for eating.
Focus on the right eating habits
My clients often tell me that they attempt to improve their eating habits by removing junk food from their homes and setting up strict meal times. These changes can be helpful, but they only focus on the external layer of the eating habit; the “what” and “how” of eating.
The internal layer contains drivers for eating that we may not be aware of. These are not visible to anyone else either. They include your beliefs about yourself and the role of food in your life. If you don’t tap into these internal drivers, change will be short lived.
Drivers for eating have a strong connection to our early experiences of eating, but they can also evolve during our life:
- Were you given food as a reward?
- Did you learn to to soothe your emotions with food?
- Have you restricted food to lose weight?
The “what” and “how” of eating are important, but it is the “why” of eating that allows us to successfully change our eating habits.
The key to understanding and transforming your eating habits is mindful eating.
Mindful eating is being present while you eat, with purpose, and without judgement. I’ll give you an example from a client’s experience (name has been changed).
Toni developed a habit of eating chocolate after dinner. She would eat the whole block and then feel guilty. She had a strong love-hate relationship with chocolate when she first contacted me.
Through practising mindful eating she has learnt the following.
Before eating the chocolate she checks whether she is hungry and inquires what she feels like eating, rather than just reaching for the chocolate.
If Toni chooses to eat chocolate, she takes one square, and really focuses on the experience of eating the chocolate.
Whilst eating, Toni smells the aromas of the chocolate, feels the smoothness in her mouth and tastes the array of sweet flavours.
Toni understands that she eats chocolate because she enjoys the sweet flavours and smooth texture. Chocolate has less control of her now, because it is not forbidden and she knows why she eats it. One or two squares now satisfies Toni’s desire for eating chocolate.
How mindful eating helps
Mindful eating, through a gentle process of inquiry and observation helps you to develop confidence in answering:
- Why am I eating?
- What am I choosing to eat?
- Is what I am eating working for me?
Transform your eating habits
This article introduces the Eating for You approach to connecting with and transforming your eating habits. If you are interested in a personalised and long term approach to eating then, the Eating for You book provides a do it yourself eating and lifestyle program to support healthy and mindful choices.
The book comes with a free downloadable workbook that provides a private space for you to reflect, learn and celebrate your transformation. The book also offers membership to the Eating for You Community Facebook group where you can receive ongoing support.
The Eating for You book helps you to:
- Identify what you need to focus on to improve your eating habits, health and wellbeing.
- Remove the guilt and shame about your eating habits.
- Reduce the confusion about what to eat.
- Understand the link between eating, lifestyle and health.
- Take one step at a time towards a personalised way of eating and living.
- Implement tips and use tools to make change easier.
- Build your confidence in knowing how to eat for you.